In the modern era, warfare came to play a crucial role in the formation of states, whereas the new wars emerging at the beginning of the 21st century have mostly gone together with the failure or collapse of states. The author draws out the key shifts involved in this process: from symmetrical conflicts between states to asymmetrical global relationships of force; from national armies to increasingly private or commercial bands of warlords, child soldiers and mercenaries; from pitched battles to protracted conflicts in which there is often little fighting and most of the violence is directed against civilians. Changes in weapons technology have combined with complex economic factors to make the prospect of endlessly simmering wars a real danger in the years to come.
Against this background, the author outlines the rise of a novel form of international terrorism, conceived more as a political method of communication than as an element in a military strategy. The resulting challenges faced by Western governments, and the costs and benefits associated with any response, are taken up in a concluding section that contrasts the characteristic European and American approaches and examines the implications for the future of international law.
This book will be of important to students of political science, international relations, war and peace studies, conflict studies and peace studies. It will also appeal to the general reader with an interest in this topical subject.
1. What is new about the new wars?.
2. Warfare, state–building and the Thrity Years War.
3. The statization of war.
4. The economics of force in the new wars.
5. International terrorism.
6. Military interventions and the West s dilemma.
Political Studies Review
Münkler helpfully sets out three ways in which the emergence of new wars is framed by globalisation and relates to the high–tech war ... In so doing, he clearly sets out some of the global trends, and systematically demonstrates the relationship between new forms of warfare, Western war, and the forces of globalisation.
Australian Journal of Political Science
A good overview of the new wars : mainly intrastate wars that are characterized by the breakdown and failure of the state.
The concept of new wars has been controversial, not least because of the many features they share with old wars. Herfried Münkler understands this, especially the comparison with wars of the pre–modern era, and so is able to make more sense of the concept than most. Not only is this book full of sharp analysis, it also brings insights from contemporary German scholarship to the notice of English language readers.
Lawrence Freedman, King′s College London